Sound of the City’s staff has opinions about which bands to see at the CMJ festival, happening around the city this week. Here, Martika Finch picks her favorite acts playing over the coming five days, including one Nashville-based punker who’s playing the Voice party this Saturday. (Check out Maura Johnston’s and Nick Murray’s selections, too.)
This Brooklyn trio’s self-titled debut is somber and sparse, with lead singer Molly Hamilton casually letting words pour out of her and into the haunting melodies of songs like “Harsh Realm” and “Hard Times”; drummer Michael Stasiak and guitarist Robert Thomas’ create a psychedelic, melancholy backdrop. Call it “psychemelancholia”?
Where to catch them: This Thursday at Cake Shop, the free Terrorbird CMJ Day Party at Cake Shop.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
If their incredible show at Glasslands last month is any indication, this band could outgrow the intimate venues it’s currently playing very quickly. UMO’s music is very obviously rooted in pop, but the band takes a catholic approach to what the word “pop” means, and isn’t afraid to reach across the aisle and dig deep into other genres for inspiration.
Where to catch them: Thursday at the Union Square Puma Store. (Yes, really.)
This Boston band’s take on prog manages to surprise—like when sporadic clucking lightly breaks through the spirited melodies. Blending assertive bass lines with fuzzed-out guitar riffs and hypnotic tales about cowboys and crosses, Quilt create an atmosphere that combines the lo-fi aesthetics popular now with the breezy sounds of classic psych-folk.
Where to catch them: Tonight at Public Assembly’s Mexican Summer showcase, which also hosts a set by Home Blitz.
White Fence is the woozy solo project of the prolific Tim Presley, who also plays with the scuzz-rockers Darker My Love and the noisemakers The Strange Boys. Here he brings a little more twang into the mix.
Where to catch him: Late Saturday at Public Assembly, where he’ll play the Panache showcase with Shonen Knife, Cheeseburger, and…
Daniel Pujol’s engine can’t stop pumping out unapologetic garage-punk. Pujol’s music has a definite sense of immediacy about it, which might be why he’s put out 10 releases—singles, EPs, full-lengths—in just two years.
Where to catch him: Saturday afternoon at Cake Shop, where he plays the Voice‘s day party with fellow Nashville rockers Diarrhea Planet.
This San Francisco trio’s heavy sound combines post-punk and shoegaze in a sonically distant way that will carry over quite nicely to the post-CMJ, pre-Halloween period, when darkness looms ever earlier.
Where to catch them: Wednesday night at Cake Shop, where they play the Lost Angeles showcase. (They’re slotted in for a 12:15 a.m. set.)
This Virginia outfit describes its music as dream punk, although the band’s catchy melodies result in their music erring more on the pop side. Which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Where to catch them: Friday night at Cake Shop, where they’re playing a showcase hosted by a record label and a blog and a beer and other entitles. Eternal Summers go on at 10:30; if you’re feeling energetic enough, stick around for XRay Eyeballs’ set at 2.